Participant Resources

Personal Development Plan (PDP)

The PDP serves as the foundation of the program and must be submitted for participants to be considered active. It consists of three main components: your personal definition of leadership, objectives to develop four leadership competencies, and a completion timeline. We also ask you to include some personal information, any coach preferences, and a current resume.

The submission deadline for both fall and spring semester is Reading Day.

The PDP template can be downloaded here.


Leadership Coach

Leadership Certificate participants will be matched with a Leadership Coach to support their leadership development. Working with a Leadership Coach can be an impactful aspect of your experience in the program and involves regular communication with your coach. As there is a limited number of volunteer coaches, we encourage students to recruit their own coach.

Who to Ask

When seeking a coach, you should identify a person who is willing to discuss your leadership development journey with you, and who will be available to meet in person or online at least once per semester while you are pursing the Leadership Certificate. Your coach does not have to be affiliated with the university.

Examples of potential coaches: faculty member, teaching assistant, advisor, work or volunteer supervisor, athletic coach, family friend, community leader, etc.

If you would like help identifying a potential coach, please contact the Leadership Certificate Team:

Approaching a Potential Coach

  • Provide a brief overview of the program – the website is a helpful resource
  • Explain how you hope to benefit from having a Leadership Coach and why you think they would be a good fit for you
  • Contact the Leadership Certificate Team once the person has agreed to serve as your coach – they will need to fill out the Coach application

Meeting with Your Coach

You are expected to meet regularly with your Leadership Coach and you will work together to determine what schedule works best for you both. At minimum, you are expected to meet with your coach at least once per month when class is in session and to maintain contact during the summer sessions if possible. You may meet in person, over the phone, or any online platform of your choosing. Please make sure to respect their time and respond to their communications in a timely manner!


Cohort Program

All participants of the Leadership Certificate Program are assigned to a small group of program participants for their first active semester in the program. Each cohort is led by a peer mentor who has knowledge of the Leadership Certificate Program and is invested in helping students complete the program. Every cohort will attend events and meetings throughout the semester as well as engage in regular communication.


Leadership Course

All participants are required to take the course LEAD 260 Introduction to Leadership Studies (formerly titled AGED 260) to earn the Leadership Certificate. If you have completed this course prior to enrolling in the Leadership Certificate Program, you may utilize it to fulfill this requirement. We also encourage you to consider taking another course to further your studies in this area

If for some reason you are unable to take LEAD 260 to fulfill this requirement, you may complete a waiver to substituteit for another course that connects to at least one of your chosen leadership competencies. The waiver can be found here and must be submitted to for final approval.


Team Experiences

An important aspect of the Leadership Certificate experience is the opportunity for participants to apply the skills they have learned in courses, trainings, and workshops to team experiences outside of the classroom environment. Participants are required to participate in two co-curricular team experiences while enrolled in the program. The Illinois Leadership Center recommends that participants seek experiences in a variety of settings. Participants will be expected submit a reflection for each experience.

Team experiences should last for at least one semester while students are enrolled in the program (past experiences will not qualify) and should provide participants regular opportunity for participation (not something that occurs only once or twice a semester). Students are NOT required to seek or occupy formal leadership positions within their chosen teams – only that they be actively involved throughout the duration of the experience. These experiences may include research groups, registered student organizations, part-time or full-time work, athletic teams, study abroad, service-learning, and much more. 

You can find several resources here that you can utilize to identify these opportunities as well as examples from past participants who completed the program.


Leadership Trainings & Workshops

Participants are required to attend a total of ten hours of leadership trainings and workshops on or off campus to earn the Leadership Certificate. These should be non-credit learning opportunities such as organizational trainings, national or regional conferences, leadership retreats, ILC i-Programs (beyond the two required i-Programs), ILC workshops, career development seminars, cultural or diversity programming, etc. These learning opportunities should promote growth in one or more of the participant’s chosen leadership competencies and must take place while the participant is enrolled in program. Participants will be expected submit a reflection synthesizing key takeaways and future applications. 

If you have questions about the eligibility of a training or workshop please check with the Leadership Certificate Team by sending an email to with information (agenda, website link, description) about the training or workshop in question. You can find several resources here that you can utilize to identify these opportunities as well as examples from past participants who completed the program.


Leadership ePortfolio

The ePortfolio serves as the capstone of the program and must be submitted for participants to complete the program. It consists of five main components: a personal introduction, your PDP, completion evidence, a cumulative reflection, and an updated resume. 

Traditionally, the submission deadline for the fall semester is November 1st and for the spring semester is April 1st. However, for the Spring 2020 semester, the deadline has been extended to April 15th.

The ePortfolio checklist and rubric can be downloaded here.


If you have questions, see our FAQ or contact